Indonesia plans to issue advisory against travel to Singapore: Health Ministry

Passengers arriving from Singapore walk near a banner about Zika virus at the Soekarno-Hatta airport in Jakarta on Aug 30, 2016.
Passengers arriving from Singapore walk near a banner about Zika virus at the Soekarno-Hatta airport in Jakarta on Aug 30, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

Indonesia is mulling precautionary measures to curb the spread of the Zika virus, including possibly issuing an advisory against travel to Singapore, which has 115 cases to date.

Dr Oscar Primadi, head of the Health Ministry’s communications and health services bureau, told The Straits Times on Wednesday (Aug 31) that the advisory is expected to be issued in a few days to “heighten vigilance”.

“This is not a ban. It’s an advisory to tell people to be careful, especially pregnant women,” he said.

“It means there’s no need to go there if it’s not important. And if you do go there, you have to protect yourself against mosquitoes,” he added. 

If Indonesia goes ahead with the advisory against travel to Singapore, it will be joining a number of countries, including the United States, Britain, Australia and South Korea, that have done so. 

Zika has been detected in 58 countries, with Brazil being the hardest-hit.

The mosquito-borne virus poses a particular risk to pregnant women as it is said to cause microcephaly, a severe birth defect characterised by undersized heads and underdeveloped brains.